The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 4
A fig for all dactyls, a fig for all spondees,
A fig for all dunces and dominie grandees.--SCOTT
'How glad I am!' exclaimed Guy, entering the drawing-room.
'Wherefore?' inquired Charles.
'I thought I was too late, and I am very glad to find no one arrived, and Mr. and Mrs.
Edmonstone not come down.'
'But where have you been?'
'I lost my way on the top of the down; I fancied some one told me there was a view of the
sea to be had there.'
'And can't you exist without a view of the sea?'
Guy laughed. 'Everything looks so dull--it is as if the view was dead or imprisoned--
walled up by wood and hill, and wanting that living ripple, heaving and struggling.'
'And your fine rocks?' said Laura.
'I wish you could see the Shag stone,--a great island mass, sloping on one side,
precipitous on the other, with the spray dashing on it. If you see it from ever so far off,
there is still that white foam coming and going--a glancing speck, like the light in an eye.'
'Hark! a carriage.'
'The young man and the young man's companion,' said Charles.
'How can you?' said Laura. 'What would any one suppose Mr. Thorndale to be?'
'Not Philip's valet,' said Charles, 'if it is true that no man is a hero to his "valley-de-
sham"; whereas, what is not Philip to the Honourable James Thorndale?'
'Philip, Alexander, and Bucephalus into the bargain,' suggested Amy, in her demure,
frightened whisper, sending all but Laura into a fit of laughter, the harder to check
because the steps of the parties concerned were heard approaching.
Mr. Thorndale was a quiet individual, one of those of whom there is least to be said, so
complete a gentleman that it would have been an insult, to call him gentleman-like;
agreeable and clever rather than otherwise, good-looking, with a high-bred air about him,
so that it always seemed strange that he did not make more impression.